A gym can be quite a daunting place for your average person, particularly when you are on a sideways, rubber-burning skid towards 40 with a well developed muffin top like I am.
Every gym has an area that is the schoolyard equivalent of behind the toilets - it's where all the tough kids hang out and you're a little bit scared to walk past it in case they tell you to f*ck off away from their patch and start chasing you.
The gym version of 'behind-the-toilets' is where they keep all of the serious weights, with mirrors covering a complete wall. People who hang out there grunt a lot and tend to walk around the area like the head of a pride of lions, snatching sideways looks at themselves in the mirrored wall every couple of steps. Navigating your way through the behind-the-toilets area is like crossing the back lawn when your dog has the shits and your teenager is on poop scoop strike - you take your life in your hands!
I have always avoided the behind-the-toilets area. I have no idea what to do with any of the stuff in there and need to spend another 10 months dieting to look like I am a regular with any form of weights.
Until Rob (personal trainer) showed me a few moves that he guaranteed would banish my fadoobaddas (those floppy CWA lady arms) and pull my love handles into line. So in I walk. As luck would have it, the pissy weights I needed were the closest to the mirrors so I had to pick my way past grunting, up and down looks (yes, you are THAT obvious) and almost copped a barbell in the right ear!
Why bother, I thought. Why not just stick to running, push ups, sit ups and the big blow up ball thing I can never frigging balance on??!
Because I am not there to get ripped muscles. Or have a body that I can pose with at the pub on Friday night. Or show anyone else how strong/toned/buff I am. I am not on the cabbage diet, the bikini diet or lemon detox kickstart your summer here program.
My greatest fear is that my body will give out before my brain does. I am scared that I will be mistaken for my childrens granny when they reach their teen years because my bone go all brittle and arthritic. I am beside myself with worry that going through premature menopause will ravage my body and leave me with the lights flickering and nobody home.
Being on HRT at 38 already makes me feel like I'm standing on the shore waving goodbye to my youth. All my girlfriends are still on the ship sailing off with their bright minds, their dynamic thoughts and a body that can still be coaxed into shape. When I tried to search for information on what I was going through, I could never find a realistic picture of how other women cope. There was stuff written retrospectively by women who had been through it 7 years ago, but nothing on how they cope with the here and now, how they got through the terrible mood swings and trying to find which drug is best going to fit or do you just have to make do for infinity?
I have found my therapy and this is it. If it stays in my head, it rots, I rot, which means everyone around me rots. If I get it out, it's gone. Other people can have a small insight into what being me is like and what it takes to get through a day.
Keep running. Keep running.........